It was a great opportuinity for Interview Times to have a good conversation with one of the most successful entrepreneur of Odisha and a Bitcoin influencer, Mr K Sanjeeb Patra. Mr Sanjeeb told about his diverse businesses and his love for Bitcoins. This is how the interview went-
Can you brief us about yourself to our readers?
Hello everyone. I am Sanjiv Patra, an NDA graduate. I ventured my business in 2005. Before that, I used to work as a travel agent to gather investment to start my own business. I used to work in a small 50 feet garage. I also got married to an established professional secretary SUNITA MOHANTY. I got married to someone way above my stature, but she never saw me like that. She always encouraged me to harness my full potential. Even when I didn’t have the money, the power, she loved me; she was my rock when I needed her. After we got married, she quit her job to help me. We both used to work as travel agents, she took the desk job in my 50 sq. feet office, and I used to work outdoors. The business was slowly picking up. I used to manage around 50 travel vehicles, but I was still not satisfied with my work. I knew I could do better. Once my wife and I were on our way to Bhadragar on some business endeavour, we met with an accident. That was the push I needed to quit my job.
Mr Patra, how did you start your own business?
After I quit my job as a travel agent, I saw an ad in a magazine that the income tax department would be privatized. I saw it as an opportunity waiting for me. There were four major income tax agencies at that time. We got connected to Alankit assignments, one of the Delhi based companies. We started a franchising centre, deposited an amount of 1 lakh, and started franchising. I saw the budding potential In this business.
After the business started flourishing, we approached the MD of the company to request ten more licenses. The obstacle was that we didn’t have the amount to pay for ten licenses. But the MD, Mr Lok Agrawal, was satisfied with our work, and he granted us ten licenses. Then we travelled to different cities looking for workspaces and started setting up our equipment. We started to distribute brochures of our business to different government offices and other places. Eventually, our business started thriving, and within a year, we established around ten more offices throughout Orrisa. Presently we have 40 offices all around India. We also slowly started diversifying our business; we went into the verification service sector. We now are East India’s largest verification enterprise.
How was your experience with the pandemic?
I enjoyed lockdown with my family. With the growing business, I did not have a lot of time to spend with them. This was the first time in years that I had taken a vacation. I relished the first fifteen days of lockdown that were work and stress-free. However, after fifteen days, I was concerned about my company. I was not sure how long this lockdown would last.I contacted all the places that I had rented and withdrew the tenant contract since all the employees worked from home. We saved a lot of rent money, especially in the big cities.
I wanted to do something productive even during these critical period. Therefore, I set up a startup, “Ask For Test”, a blood test organization during lockdown. We did a lot of covid tests. The blood test organization is still flourishing. I now am starting another organization, “Ask For Health”, for that, I am collaborating with Dawai India and a foreign country. We aim to provide health care and blood tests for poor and unprivileged people.
During lockdown in the month of May, I joined Franchise India as a franchising consultant. I consulted about 20 to 30 companies. Later someone suggested referral marketing for some Swedish company. I was intrigued. So I invested a small amount of INR 8,500. I worked there for two months, and the result was truly astonishing. I became oblivious to the time I started earning well. I earned in bitcoin. I was surprised to see the worth of 1 bitcoin. I got fascinated with them. So I researched about them for six months and set up an office for cryptocurrency. I now manage portfolios for people.
Mr Sanjiv, as you said that you have about 7-8 companies. How do you manage them all? It must be not easy to manage so many companies at the same time!!!
Well, yes, but I take my wife’s CS SUNITA MOHANTY assistance, and there are managers for every company. They look after the petty issues and the employees.
There are many conflicts about cryptocurrency. Can you brief us about its benefits?
Cryptocurrency is a decentralized concept. The problem in India is that cryptocurrency is not very encouraged here. You can buy and sell bitcoins, but you can not buy yourself a product through Bitcoin. It is very hard for the government to track bitcoin transactions and impose a tax on them. But government can’t ban it like it can’t ban the internet. Cryptocurrency is a billion-dollar market. Bitcoin is the leading cryptocurrency. After bitcoin there is ethereum, the second leading cryptocurrency.
What, according to you, is the strategy to deal with cryptocurrency because of its volatile nature?
I would suggest investing in mutual funds. After that, I would recommend investing in bitcoin as it is known as the father of investments. There is also virtual real estate. There are many places where one can invest. I would endorse not putting all the eggs in one basket, not investing all the money in one place, and diversifying your investments. That way, when there’s a loss at one place, there’s again in another.
What advice would you give to the new entrepreneurs?
I would advise the young generation to research and survey their topic thoroughly. Of course, focus and determination is important. Even when you’re losing your hope, remember that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Remember always to choose your teammates carefully. Also, it is preferable not to involve family and business.
Image Source- Mr K Sanjeeb Patra Picture Wardrobe
Interview By- Sayak Karmakar, Resident Editor, Interview Times